Hand in Paw returns to in person therapy

Nonprofit celebrating 25 years of healing through animals
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It is no secret that our pets can help calm us. But, with some special training the have the ability to calm others too.

For 25 years Hand in Paw therapy teams have been doing just that.

Volunteers train with their pets to offer support, motivation, and comfort to people in nursing homes, schools, and other facilities.

Like many organizations the pandemic shut down their normal procedures overnight, but that didn’t stop them.

“We took the challenge and turned it into an opportunity and did some research and discovered we could do a lot of our visits virtually,” says Executive Director Margaret Stinnett.

They also started offering a new service to front line health care workers.

“This year has been a little different because we focused our needs working with the staff rather than the patients because they have been so stressed during this, the front line health care workers have been working so hard and under such difficult circumstances,” says Stinnett.

Now as more vaccines allows covid-19 safety measures to ease, they are finally getting a chance to return to some normalcy.

“We have Teams coming in today to start training to return to visiting hospitals nursing homes and schools and other facilities that we work with in person with our therapy animals and we are really excited about it,” says Stinnett.

When they launched 25 years ago they had less than 10 Therapy Teams. Now there are almost 100.

Hand in Paw is also launching a new program that will permanently offer support to medical personnel going forward.

The nonprofit relies on donors to fund its work. To learn more about their mission and to donate, go to handinpaw.org/donate.

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